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Published: Wednesday, 6/27/2007

Bedford school budget, staff cuts OK'd

LAMBERTVILLE - The Bedford Board of Education last night unanimously passed its 2007-08 budget that will eliminate six teacher positions, one high school principal post, and about 12 other staff jobs.

The budget includes $46,431,559 in general fund expenditures and $45,699,057 in expected revenue. So despite the staff reductions and other cost-saving measures, the budget anticipates a $732,502 deficit for the 2007-08 school year.

"I don't think anyone is happy about the cuts that we had to make," board member Mike Smith said. "We did the best that we could with the money we had available, and I'm sure it could have been much worse."

Ted Magrum, assistant superintendent of finances, said if the district had not already made $1.59 million in cuts in anticipation of the coming year, the district would have had a $2,323,505 deficit. He said the district will be able to balance its budget by taking $732,502 out of its rainy-day fund.

And although Bedford Township itself continues to grow, the district's enrollment continues to decline. Wes Berger, assistant superintendent of personnel, said he predicts the district will lose another 41 students next year, and a similar decrease is anticipated for the next several years.

The loss of 41 students means $291,428 less in state funding, based on the state's current provision of $7,108 per pupil.

While Mr. Magrum has estimated that the state's per-pupil funding will remain the same next year, he has optimistically predicted a $175-per-pupil increase in state funding for the 2008-09 school year. But he said that even with the anticipated state funding increase, the district will have to cut $1.75 million for the 2008-09 year.

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